On top of the Carmelo Anthony drama, Derrick Rose's impending free agency and the Joakim Noah embarrassment, there looked to be even more trouble brewing within the New York Knicks last week when Kristaps Porzingis skipped his end-of-season interviews with Phil Jackson.
He also revealed that he would take an extended trip back to his home country of Latvia, where he would stay until later in the summer.
It obviously got the rumor mill churning that Porzingis was unhappy with the team and wanted out.
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Before he left for Latvia on Thursday though, Porzingis attempted to put many panicked Knicks minds at ease when he told Marc Berman of the New York Post that he loves playing at Madison Square Garden.
It’s understandable for many to think that he was just going through the motions in expressing his affection for New York, especially because he still didn’t reveal why he missed his meeting with Jackson and company.
ESPN’s Ian Begley reported last week that Porzingis was “frustrated with the Knicks’ lack of direction,” per sources.
Contrary to popular belief, the Knicks have a chance to ease Porzingis’ frustrations instead of their usual bull-in-the-china-shop technique, aka destroying most good things.
Deal Carmelo Anthony
Melo will turn 33 on May 29 and is owed over $26 million in each of the next two seasons.
That’s big money for a player that has proven he can’t will his team to win. It’s time for him to waive his no-trade clause and get dealt to a contender where he can provide All-Star support instead of being the big man on campus.
Get a high-round draft pick or a proven, productive player(s) in return for him and start building around Porzingis.
Find an offense and commit
Ditch the triangle if the rest of the Knicks can’t get on board with it. If Porzingis has support and the culture within the locker room changes toward the system, then, by all means, institute it.
But once you commit to a scheme, stay there for an entire season.
Porzingis has mentioned in the past that he likes the triangle offense while playing under it full-time during his rookie season, via Newsday’s Al Iannazzone, so it shouldn’t seem farfetched that it’s a legitimate option moving forward.
Acquire a real point guard
This is not an attack on Rose, but his style of play was not the best for Porzingis’ development.
There is a reason why they call the 7-foot-3 Latvian a unicorn. He can score from anywhere on the floor and needs to be fed often.
Rose on average attempted 15.3 field goals per game, second behind Anthony. Porzingis’ 14.9 per game was third, but with a player of his caliber, he should be shooting as many times as Anthony did last season, which was 18.8 attempts per night.
Getting a pass-first point guard, whether it is through the market or the draft, could see Porzingis’ numbers hit new levels next season.